The federal government has said that Nigeria generated more than $250 million from the export of cashews in 2022.

Mohammed Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, had this to say at the Nigeria Cashew Season and Day event.

Represented by Ernest Umakhihe, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Abubakar added that the harvest is also expected to bring in around $500 million for farmers in 2023.

The programme, themed “industrialization of Nigeria’s cashew sector through inclusive policies”, was held in Abuja on Tuesday.

Abubakar said the agricultural product has grown in importance as an export-oriented cash crop since the 1990s and has become a major source of non-oil export earnings.

“It is estimated to account for more than 10 percent of GDP based on 2022 export data and it is becoming a cash crop in Nigeria and is cultivated in 27 states including FCT,” NAN quoted Abubakar as saying.

“Realizing the importance of the cashew, the federal government, through the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, included the cashew as a priority crop.

“It is being promoted under the import substitution strategy of the present administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Abubakar said cashew was among the crops being promoted under the ministry’s value chain programme.

“The ministry has carried out a number of activities over the years to promote the growth of the value chain in the country, including the free distribution of improved seeds/seedlings to cashew farmers,” he said.

“Establishment of cashew cottage industries in some states, distribution of agrochemicals/growth enhancers, carbon free jute bags and backpack sprayers.

“Others were supplying cashew farmers with water pumps, building capacity/training for cashew farmers, and conducting awareness exercises.”

For his part, Ojo Ajanaku, president of the National Cashew Nut Association of Nigeria (NCAN), said the country is steadily becoming an export hub, absorbing at least 11 percent of the country’s foreign exchange trade in recent years. three years.

“This implies that the sector has the potential to boost national income generation, increase job creation and diversify the economy,” he said.

Ajanaku said that more than 3 million people in Nigeria, especially women, have become cashew farmers, boosting the sector among male farmers.

“NCAN’s long-term goal is to transform Nigeria from a low-priced commodity producer to a trusted supplier and exporter of high-quality cashew products, embracing indigenous innovations and policies that will drive the sector forward,” he said.